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In brief: Seattle City Light’s license for Boundary Dam cleared

Thu., Aug. 22, 2013, midnight

Seattle City Light has cleared the last hurdle for a new license for Boundary Dam on the Pend Oreille River near Metaline Falls, Wash.

No appeals to the 42-year dam license issued in March were received by Monday’s deadline, completing the Federal Energy Relicensing Commission’s relicensing process for the hydropower facility.

Seattle City Light began generating power at Boundary Dam in 1967. The dam produces up to 1,040 megawatts of power, or up to 40 percent of Seattle’s electricity requirements.

Under the new license, Seattle City Light will build a native fish hatchery to stock the Boundary Reservoir and area lakes. The new license also requires the removal of the defunct Mill Pond Dam on Sullivan Creek, a tributary of the Pend Oreille River.

Seattle City Light will also pay for recreational improvements in the Boundary Dam project area, including new trails, new nonmotorized boat access and improvements to the Metaline Park boat launch.

Wal-Mart drops layaway fee

NEW YORK – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is getting rid of the $5 entry fee for customers wanting to open its interest-free, pay-over-time program for holiday gifts.

The move comes as the world’s largest retailer is seeing that its low-income shoppers remain pinched in an uncertain economy.

The holiday layaway program is slated to kick off Sept. 13 and will last until Dec. 13. At the same time, Wal-Mart is bringing back its $10 cancellation fee that was eliminated last year.

Fed appeals debit card ruling

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve is appealing a recent court ruling that struck down its cap on how much banks can charge businesses for processing debit card transactions.

The Fed filed a notice Wednesday that it is seeking in a federal appeals court to overturn U.S. District Judge Richard Leon’s ruling last month. Leon said at the time that the Federal Reserve didn’t have the authority to set the limit the way it did in 2011, and that it improperly included data that made the cap – an average 24 cents per transaction – too high.

Congress mandated a ceiling on debit-card swipe fees as part of the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul. Prior to the cap, fees averaged 44 cents per swipe. Leon’s ruling was a victory for a coalition of retail groups, which sued the Fed over its cap. The Fed had initially proposed a 12-cent fee limit, and the retailers argued that the Fed buckled under pressure from bank lobbyists when it doubled that level.

The rule remains in place in the meantime.

Group aims to get world online

NEW YORK – Facebook wants to get more of the world’s more than 7 billion people – all of them, actually – online through a partnership with some of the world’s largest mobile technology companies.

Facebook Inc. announced a partnership called on Wednesday. In addition to the world’s biggest online social network, the group also includes Korean electronics giant Samsung, Finnish handset maker Nokia and wireless chip maker Qualcomm Inc.

Facebook said the group’s goal is to “make Internet access available to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected” – about 5 billion people.

Wireless equipment company Ericsson, Web browser developer Opera Software and MediaTek, another wireless semiconductor company, are also founding members of

Google Inc., which is not a part of the effort, launched a similar undertaking, Project Loon, earlier this year with the goal of getting everyone on Earth online.


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